How to Train a Pit Bull Puppy to Not Bark

How to Train a Pit Bull Puppy to Not Bark
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon3-6 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

Introduction

Before you go too far with your decision to train your Bully to stop barking, it is important that you realize this is his way of communicating with other dogs, you, your family, and the rest of the world. It is his way of alerting you to strangers, emergencies, other dogs that have wandered into the yard, and many other situations.

Of course, this doesn't mean your Pittie should bark incessantly, driving the neighbors crazy. It simply means you need to teach your pup when it's okay for him to bark and when he needs to be quiet.

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Defining Tasks

The task itself is pretty simple, your job is to teach your pup to be quiet on command and at the same time, not to bark just because he feels like it. Again, keep in mind there are many valid reasons for your pup to bark, so you should not try to teach him to never bark. Pay close attention to when your pup is barking to see if he is making noise for a good reason or he just likes the sound of his own voice. Then you can work on training him to be quiet on command and eventually just because he knows that barking does not result in getting a reward. 

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Getting Started

Before you contemplate teaching your Bully not to bark, he needs to have mastered the four basic commands: 'sit', 'stay', 'come', and 'down'. This helps to establish you as the alpha in his pack, which in turn will make training him that much easier. Beyond a large bag of your pup's favorite treats, be prepared with plenty of time and patience to keep working with your pup. 

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The Busted Method

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1

Got treats?

Check your stock of puppy treats and if it's low, go ahead and run out to the store and pick up a large bag to use as rewards for when he gets thing right.

2

So, now he barks

Keep a close eye on your Pittie and when he goes off on a barking jag, pay no attention to him. Keep watching him, sooner or later he is going to get tired of all the noise he is making.

3

Ah, silence

The moment your Bully stops barking, be right there with a treat and plenty of praise. Keep doing this over the course of several weeks. The idea is to teach your pup he gets treats for being quiet and nothing for being noisy.

4

Add the cue

Now that he has associated stopping barking with getting a treat, it's time to introduce the cue word, "quiet" to the game. The next time he is barking his head off and stops, give him the cue and reward him with a treat.

5

Keep working it

The rest is all about working on this training and extending the time between when you give the "Quiet" cue and when your pup gets his treat. In time he will figure out his incessant barking will need to come to an end. Be patient, it will happen.

The Tell Me All About It Method

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1

On the leash

Start out by calling your pup over to you and put him on his leash. This lets him know you are the one in charge.

2

Give the 'speak' command

If you haven't already taught your pup the 'speak' command, teach this first to put barking on cue.

3

Now speak!

Give your pup the speak command and let him bark for a few seconds and then give him the 'quiet' command.

4

Time is on your side

It might take your Bully a few seconds to calm down and stop barking, but it will happen and when it does, praise him and give him a treat.

5

Lock it in

The rest is all about continuing to work with your pup slowly adding more time between when he stops and when you give him a treat. In time, your pup will stop his nuisance barking and resort to barking only when it is necessary.

The Turn Away Method

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1

A pocket full of goodies

Fill your pocket with a nice supply of your pup's favorite treats.

2

Where does he bark the most?

Observe your pup and determine what tends to set him off on a barking jag. Spend some time playing with him there and just keeping an eye on him.

3

When he goes off

When your pup goes off on his next barking fit, simply turn away from him. The goal is for your pup to see you are ignoring him.

4

Oh, you want quiet

It won't take long before your pup figures it out and stops barking. When he does, give him the cue "quiet", praise him, and give him a treat.

5

Moving right along

The rest is all about working on the training. Add more time between when he stops barking and when you give him the treat. In time, you will no longer need the treats and your pup will spend far more time being quiet instead of trying to wake the dead.

By PB Getz

Published: 03/16/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Shadow

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Pit bull

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2 Years

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Question

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This baby was a rescue, didn't get him until he was 4mo or so. Right after I got him, I injured both shoulders and have been unable to leash train him (he pulls so bad shoulders can't take it). He's fiercely protective and so very stubborn. He barks loudly at all the things are will only sometimes respond to verbal commands to be quiet. He's also the sweetest dog I've ever met. He's my second dog, I've never had dogs before now and my first is Sadie, a Golden Retriever. You couldnt ask for a better behaved girl. He's completely the opposite. I'm in over my head, physically unable to handle him and don't have dog experience. I'm at a loss and it's affecting my marriage at this point.Please help!! (Pitbull/Black Lab mix) Thank you in advance!

May 6, 2022

Shadow's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Dawn, If you can afford it, this is a case where I recommend board and train to address the leash pulling and reactivity. Honestly, I would find someone who trains more like the training in the video I have linked below. https://www.youtube.com/user/AmericasCanineED/search?query=leash%20reactivity If you end up using tools like a prong collar (which depends a lot on the dog whether that's the right tool), then make sure you spend time learning how to properly fit and use whatever tool you use. Prong collars are commonly used like a choke chain would be - which isn't very effective and is unsafe. https://www.youtube.com/user/AmericasCanineED/search?query=prong%20introduction Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

May 6, 2022

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Stormi

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Pit bull

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4 Months

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Question

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Biting

July 11, 2021

Stormi's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Bite Inhibition" method. BUT at the same time, begin teaching "Leave It" from the "Leave It" method. As soon as pup is good as the Leave It game, start telling pup to "Leave It" when she attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if she makes a good choice. If she disobeys your leave it command, use the Out command from the second article linked below to make her leave the area as a consequence. The order or all of this is very important - the Bite Inhibition method can be used for the next couple of weeks while pup is learning leave it, but leave it will teach pup to stop the biting entirely. The Out method teaches pup that you mean what you say without being overly harsh - but because you have taught pup to leave it first, pup clearly understands that you are not just playing (which is what pup probably thinks most of the time right now), so it is more effective. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the area, is also a good command for you to use if pup bites the kids. Check out the section on Using Out to Deal with Pushy Behavior for how to calmly enforce that command once it's taught. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Another important part of this is puppy learning bite inhibition. Puppies have to learn while young how to control the pressure of their mouths - this is typically done through play with other puppies. See if there is a puppy class in your area that comes well recommended and has time for moderated off-leash puppy play. If you can't join a class, look for a free puppy play group, or recruit some friends with puppies to come over if you can and create your own group. You are looking for puppies under 6 months of age - since young puppies play differently than adult dogs. Right now, an outside class may be best in a fenced area, or letting friends' pups play in someone's fence outside. Moderate the puppies' play and whenever one pup seems overwhelmed or they are all getting too excited, interrupt their play, let everyone calm down, then let the most timid pup go first to see if they still want to play - if they do, then you can let the other puppies go too when they are waiting for permission. Finding a good puppy class - no class will be ideal but here's what to shoot for: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/puppy-classes-when-to-start/ When pup gets especially wound up, she probably needs a nap too. At this age puppies will sometimes get really hyper when they are overtired or haven't had any mental stimulation through something like training. When you spot that and think pup could be tired, place pup in their crate or an exercise pen with a food stuffed Kong for a bit to help her calm down and rest. Practicing regular obedience commands or having pup earn what they get by performing commands like Sit and Down before feeding, petting, tossing a toy, opening the door for a walk, ect... can also help stimulate pup mentally to increase calmness and wear them out. Commands that practice focus, self-control, and learning something a bit new or harder than before can all tire out puppies. Finally, check out the PDF e-book downloads found on this website, written by one of the founders of the association of professional dog trainers, and a pioneer in starting puppy kindergarten classes in the USA. Click on the pictures of the puppies to download the PDF books: https://www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads/ Know that mouthiness at this age is completely normal. It's not fun but it is normal for it to take some time for a puppy to learn self-control well enough to stop. Try not to get discouraged if you don't see instant progress, any progress and moving in the right direction in this area is good, so keep working at it. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

July 12, 2021


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